# Light Communication Question

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1. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Explain how polarizing light shows light travels as a transverse wave.

3. The attempt at a solution
Light is generally an un-polarized electromagnetic wave but there are different ways that light waves are able to be polarized. I am unclear how the process of polarizing light shows that light travels as a transverse wave.

2. Jan 18, 2016

### vela

Staff Emeritus
What does it mean for light to be polarized?

3. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

Polarized light waves are light waves in which the vibrations occur in a single plane?

4. Jan 18, 2016

### vela

Staff Emeritus
Vibrations of what?

5. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

Im not sure.

6. Jan 18, 2016

### vela

Staff Emeritus
Well, that's what your textbook is for.

7. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

vibrations of the light wave?

8. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

vibrations of electric charges*

9. Jan 18, 2016

### Ray Vickson

No. Vibrations of electric charge give rise to light waves, but the waves themselves can travel through empty space where there are no charges to vibrate. The electric and magnetic fields vibrate, and those are not material things.

10. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

I am clearly lost can you please explain the answer to me.

11. Jan 18, 2016

### haruspex

Do you understand the concept of electric field?

12. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

yes

13. Jan 18, 2016

### haruspex

Do you understand that an electromagnetic wave consists of an electric field and a magnetic field, at right angles, each oscillating?

14. Jan 18, 2016

### hchakal

some what

15. Jan 18, 2016